School consolidations to be announced ‘during the next few weeks’
SAN JUAN – After Puerto Rico Education Secretary Julia Keleher said Wednesday that her plan is to have “fewer than 1,000 schools” in the public education system, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Thursday that his administration will announce “during the next weeks” which schools will be consolidated, in order to put an end to the uncertainty looming over thousands of teachers, school staff, students and parents.
With two months before the end of the school year, the government still hasn’t mentioned which schools may close, leaving school communities on edge, especially the 370 schools with fewer than 200 students, who don’t know if their schools will be consolidated. On Wednesday, Keleher said the school closures will begin in August, although she took to Twitter to deny the legitimacy of lists of alleged schools to be closed.
Falsas listas, preocupaciones innecesarias. Desilusionada con desinformación. Paren de hacer daño. El análisis continúa #ImNotFinishedYet
— Julia Keleher (@SecEducacionPR) March 29, 2017
“Fake lists, unnecessary concerns. Disillusioned with disinformation. Stop doing harm. The analysis continues #ImNotFinishedYet,” the Education secretary wrote on Twitter.
“That [evaluation] process is also underway. What I can say is that in the next few weeks, not much more than that, we will be providing a breakdown of this [which schools will be consolidated]. Our fiscal plan and our development plan have to be concrete, and it must bear a name and surname, and we will talk about that,” Rosselló replied to Caribbean Business after signing legislation to create a destination marketing organization (DMO).
Even though lower school enrollment numbers had been cited in the past as one of the reasons to close schools, as well as the need to save money amid the fiscal crisis, the governor said the consolidation is aimed at “improving education.”
He explained that during the evaluation process several logistics issues are being considered, such as “the distances parents have to [travel to] schools, the quality of the education, human resources,” among others.
The process is being carried out “intelligently,” with the objective thatto improve “your children’s educational experience.” He added that another goal is to have better educational resources for students.
The process is being carried out “in an intelligent way,” with the aim that “the final result of these consolidations is that the experience of their children, the educational experience, is better,” in addition to having better educational resources for the students, he said.
Luis J. Valentín contributed to this report.